1st Financial Federal Credit Union Announces New Vice President of Member Experience

Lone Callahan HeadshotWentzville, MO (December 30, 2016) – 1st Financial Federal Credit Union, a Community Development Financial Institution, (CDFI), has recently announced Lone Callahan as the Vice President of Member Experience.

Callahan joined 1st Financial in November to begin the transition of duties from Chief Operations Officer, Mary Jo Garofalo, who is retiring after 35 years of service.

Callahan has over 20 years of experience in the financial services industry with extensive knowledge of credit union branch management and retail delivery service. Her specialties include staff development, coaching, product and service strategies and implementation, and branch operations and sales. She has held the role of Vice President of Branch Operations and Compliance, most recently, at Harvester Financial Credit Union located in Indianapolis, Indiana.

“I’ve worked with Lone in the past and I’m confident that she has the leadership skills and experience necessary to lead our retail team through the many opportunities that lie ahead,” said Carol Minges, CEO of 1st Financial Federal Credit Union.

Beginning January 1, Callahan will assume full responsibility of overseeing the daily operations of 1st Financial’s call center and four local branches: Wentzville and St. Charles in St. Charles County, Hazelwood in St. Louis County, and Washington Ave, in the heart of the City of St. Louis.

“I am very much looking forward to working with our branches and members to find ways to create an even better experience at 1st Financial. I feel so fortunate to be a part of a credit union that is focused on making a difference in our community,” said Callahan.

For more information about 1st Financial Federal Credit Union and the credit union difference, visit www.thebetterwaytobank.org.

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About 1st Financial Federal Credit Union

Like all credit unions, 1st Financial is a member-owned, financial cooperative. 1st Financial Federal Credit Union was chartered on September 3, 1968 as District 837 Credit Union by the International Association of Machinist members employed by McDonnell Douglas. Today, with over 34,000 members and $215 million in assets, 1st Financial is a St. Louis metro area financial institution dedicated to helping members achieve their financial dreams. For over 45 years 1st Financial has provided members with a full line of dependable financial products and services which returns profits to the members in the form of lower rates on loans and higher savings yields. The cooperative nature of credit unions enables 1st Financial to provide products and services at very reasonable rates.

1st Financial Federal Credit Union serves those who live, work, worship, attend school, or regularly conduct business in St. Louis City, St. Louis County, and St. Charles County, Missouri and a wide array of companies throughout the St. Louis metropolitan area. 1st Financial is a member-owned, not-for-profit financial organization committed to providing quality services to the membership while demonstrating safe and sound business practices. Deposits are federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), an agency of the U.S. Government.

 


1st Financial Announces Retirement of Chief Operations Officer after 35 Years at Credit Union

WENTZVILLE, MO (December 12, 2016) – 1st Financial Federal Credit Union, a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), recently announced the retirement of the Chief Operations Officer, Mary Jo Garofalo.

mary jo garafalo 1st financial

Garofalo began her career at 1st Financial as a part-time file clerk in 1981. Since then she has played many roles at 1st Financial including loan administrator, Visa program manager, branch manager, and vice president of operations.

In 2007, Garofalo assumed the role of chief operations officer at 1st Financial. She currently oversees the daily operations of their four local branches: Wentzville and St. Charles in St. Charles County, Hazelwood in St. Louis County, and Washington Ave, in the heart of the City of St. Louis.  She also oversees the contact center.

“Mary Jo has made a significant contribution to 1st Financial and her DNA has been woven into the very fabric of this organization,” said 1st Financial CEO, Carol Minges.  “We will miss her unfiltered words of wisdom, humor and unique view of life.”

With a career spanning three decades, Garofalo has witnessed the evolution of technology in the banking industry. From faxes to email and typewriters to computers, the business operations and the needs of the members have changed dramatically through the years.mary jo garafalo early years

Focused on staying competitive in the banking industry and being an advocate for all credit unions, Garofalo participated in introducing the idea of bringing credit union shared branching to Missouri. 1st Financial had the honor of being the first credit union in the United States to open accounts for other credit unions as part of the shared branch network. The shared branch network is now a nationwide network of more than 30,000 surcharge-free ATMs and 5,000 credit union shared branch locations.

Garofalo also spearheaded the introduction of many new products and services for 1st Financial members like mobile and online banking, mobile wallets, SnapDeposit, RollUp Savings, and instant issue debit cards.

“My career at 1st Financial has spanned over 35 years and I will miss that part of my life. However, I’m excited to start the next chapter and am looking forward to spending lots of time with my granddaughters,” said Garofalo.

“While we are thrilled for Mary Jo and her new found freedom it is difficult to see her go,” said 1st Financial Chief Lending Officer Michelle Rosner.  “She embodies what credit unions are about…she enjoys helping people.  Whether giving her managers the autonomy to grow their branches or giving life lessons in leadership, Mary Jo’s presence will be greatly missed.  We are a better credit union because of Mary Jo.”

Following Garofalo’s retirement, Lone Callahan, formerly the Vice President Branch Operations at Harvester Financial Credit Union in Indianapolis, will assume the title of vice president of member experience at 1st Financial.

For more information about 1st Financial Federal Credit Union and the credit union difference, visit www.thebetterwaytobank.org.

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About 1st Financial Federal Credit Union

Like all credit unions, 1st Financial is a member-owned, financial cooperative. 1st Financial Federal Credit Union was chartered on September 3, 1968 as District 837 Credit Union by the International Association of Machinist members employed by McDonnell Douglas. Today, with over 30,000 members and over $220 million in assets, 1st Financial is a St. Louis metro area financial institution dedicated to helping members achieve their financial dreams.

1st Financial Federal Credit Union serves those who live, work, worship, attend school, or regularly conduct business in St. Louis City, St. Louis County, and St. Charles County, Missouri and a wide array of companies throughout the St. Louis metropolitan area. 1st Financial is a member-owned, not-for-profit financial organization committed to providing quality services to the membership while demonstrating safe and sound business practices. Deposits are federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), an agency of the U.S. Government.


1st Financial Federal Credit Union Volunteers at Local School

Wentzville, MO – 1st Financial Federal Credit Union, a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), recently volunteered at Heritage Primary Elementary School in Wentzville through Junior Achievement of Greater St. Louis.

In addition, 1st Financial also awarded $500 to Junior Achievement of Greater St. Louis through their monthly Helping People 1st grant.

1st Financial Junior Achievement check for $500

The partnership between 1st Financial Federal Credit Union and Junior Achievement of Greater St. Louis began three years ago.  1st Financial employees volunteered over 100 hours with the organization teaching children about financial education and what it takes to make a valuable community.

“1st Financial Federal Credit Union helps us bring fun, interactive, hands-on programs to students that exemplify the importance of work readiness, financial literacy and entrepreneurship while at the same time sharing their personal success stories and testimonies,” said Tracie Roberson, Junior Achievement Program Manager.1st Financial Junior Achievement Volunteers

“Junior Achievement of Greater St. Louis brings programs to more than 155,000 students throughout our service areas, and we are grateful that 1st Financial Federal Credit sponsors us financially and donates their time and talents in the classrooms. We look forward to many more years working together to inspire and prepare young people to succeed,” said Roberson.

1st Financial Federal Credit Union believes education is one of the fundamental foundations to achieving financial freedom no matter how young a person is. For more information about 1st Financial visit www.TheBetterWayToBank.org.


Write to Dream Contest is Empowering Local Youth

St. Louis, MO – “It is difficult to dream when there is no food in the home, and illnesses or addictions run rampant in the family,” said VaNetta Clark, Aspire Academy teacher.

1st Financial Federal Credit Union, a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), awarded their quarterly Community Grant to their member, Ms. Vanetta Clark to support her efforts to strengthen the community through education.

Ms. Clark, a teacher at Aspire Academy and a member at 1st Financial Federal Credit Union, not only impacts her student’s lives daily in the classroom, but she also facilitates the Write to Dream contest. This writing contest is a bi-annual contest that is open to all of the students at Aspire Academy.

Once the entries have been submitted, with the help of a panel, Ms. Clark picks 25 students and treats them to a dream day outing including lunch at exquisite restaurant and ride in a limousine. While they are out they talk to the students about their future dreams.

“As an educator, author, and visionary it is my desire to sow seeds of greater possibility within the minds of our youth. As a teacher, I am well acquainted with the adversity each student encounters on a daily basis. Unfortunately, the cycle is repeated in many cases,” said Ms. Clark.

“The Write to Dream contest is designed to teach youth how to dream beyond their immediate surrounding. In addition, the program is a call-to-action for those invested in the success of our youth and the individuals willing to look beyond the current state of our city into greater possibility and to recognize our ability to create the outcome we desire.”

1st Financial Federal Credit Union awarded Aspire Academy a Helping People 1st Grant in the amount of $500. This grant allows the school and Ms. Clark to continue to facilitate the Write to Dream contest.Processed with VSCO with a5 preset

“We love what Ms. Clark is doing in our community,” said Tracy Verner, Community Development Manager at 1st Financial Federal Credit Union. “She allows students to dream, to be creative, and to learn in her classroom and we are honored that Ms. Clark is also a 1st Financial member. Together, we are empowering kids to learn, to write and, above all else, to dream big.”

At 1st Financial Federal Credit Union, we believe education is one of the fundamental foundations to achieving financial freedom no matter how young you are. For more information about 1st Financial visit www.TheBetterWayToBank.org.

About 1st Financial Federal Credit Union

Like all credit unions, 1st Financial is a member-owned, financial cooperative. 1st Financial Federal Credit Union was chartered on September 3, 1968 as District 837 Credit Union by the International Association of Machinist members employed by McDonnell Douglas. Today, with over 30,000 members and over $220 million in assets, 1st Financial is a St. Louis metro area financial institution dedicated to helping members achieve their financial dreams. For over 45 years 1st Financial has provided members with a full line of dependable financial products and services which returns profits to the members in the form of lower rates on loans and higher savings yields. The cooperative nature of credit unions enables 1st Financial to provide products and services at very reasonable rates.

 

1st Financial Federal Credit Union serves those who live, work, worship, attend school, or regularly conduct business in St. Louis City, St. Louis County, and St. Charles County, Missouri and a wide array of companies throughout the St. Louis metropolitan area. 1st Financial is a member-owned, not-for-profit financial organization committed to providing quality services to the membership while demonstrating safe and sound business practices. Deposits are federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), an agency of the U.S. Government.